It’s easy to grow elderberry plants yourself with the gardening tips below.
Elderberries are a wonderful fruit packed with antioxidants and immune-boosting compounds.
You can use them to make syrups, gummies, and other supplements, to help keep your family healthy during the cold and flu season.
Elderberries also tend to be very expensive.
Growing your own elderberries is a great frugal way to provide your family with these healthy fruits.
How to Start Elderberry From Cuttings
The best way to start new elderberry plants is from cuttings.
Unlike other plants like blueberries, you want to treat your elderberry like you would a hardwood.
Start your elderberry cuttings in the winter after the plant has gone dormant.
If you are taking a cutting from an elderberry plant you found while foraging, you should mark the location of the plant so you can come back and get your cutting over the wintertime for the best results.
Choose a cutting that is at least 6 inches long from a healthy, yet dormant elderberry branch. Look for one with at least two node pairs as these assist in rooting.
After taking your cuttings, place them into a glass of distilled water for 24 hours.
This will help to start the rooting process and increase your chance of success.
Do NOT use chlorinated tap water.
Dip your cutting into rooting hormone.
While this is not necessary it is the best way to increase your chances of success in rooting your cutting.
Poke a hole into your soil and place your cutting into well-draining soil with a mix of peat moss and potting soil to obtain a simple well-draining mix that will nourish your cutting and help to encourage rooting.
Elderberry cuttings tend to root best in cool weather.
Place a plastic bag over your elderberry cutting and place it in a cool shady space away from direct sunlight but keep it indoors where it will not freeze over if you live in a cold climate.
Check to ensure that it doesn’t dry out every couple of weeks. Rooting should take place within 8 to 10 weeks.
How to Grow Elderberry
Elderberry needs to cross-pollinate.
This means you need at least two elderberry bushes preferably of different varieties and keep your plants relatively close.
Elderberry bushes can grow quite large making it important to space your elderberry bushes out.
Plant your elderberry bushes 3 to 15 feet apart. This will allow your plants to spread out and still cross-pollinate.
To grow elderberries for the berries you need to plant your elderberries in full sun where they get at least 6 hours of sun per day.
The ideal space for your elderberry bushes is where they will receive light from dawn to dusk.
Plant your elderberries in loamy well-draining soil.
Before planting, amend your soil with organic matter and plenty of compost.
Elderberries are shallow-rooted and should be planted level with their roots so that the roots are just covered but the trunk is as far out of the soil as possible to help protect the trunk from rotting.
Elderberries are very tolerant plants that can survive without much pain from you.
I just love the pretty delicate white flowers you’ll get on your Elderberry plants before the berries form.
Be sure to scroll down to the end of this article for a really great Elderflower Lemonade Recipe.
The only real issue you will see with your elderberry plants is that they can not handle drought.
If you wish to grow a lot of elderberries you should consider adding in a drip irrigation system around the base of your bushes to allow you to keep them well-watered during a drought.
This will also help with the need for extra water your plants will go through during the first year while you work to establish them.
Your bushes need 1 to 2 inches a week for your plants.
Mulch your young elderberry plants to help keep weeds at bay until your bushes grow big enough to help block them out.
Weeding is vital for young elderberry plants to ensure that they have no competition in your space.
For the first couple of years do not prune your elderberry bushes unless there are signs of damage.
Letting them grow wild will allow your brushes to build up enough foliage to produce berries.
After a couple of years, you can prune them back in the spring training them to make them look good in your landscaping.
Trim away any dead or rotting branches to ensure that your elderberry bushes are healthy.
How to Safely Harvest Elderberry
Elderberry trees are a risk to grow and should be grown in an area where children can not get to them.
Only the flowers and berries are edible. The wood, leaves, stems, and roots of the elderberry plant are highly toxic.
When using elderberries you need to ensure that they are well cooked.
Raw elderberries much like the rest of the plant are harmful if ingested.
When harvesting your berries make a point to remove as many of the stems as possible.
Your berries can be dried or frozen for storage when they are ripe to use when you are ready.
Once you have your elderberry plants growing, you’ll want to try out these recipes:
- Best Elderberry Syrup Recipe – Using Elderberry Syrup is the best home remedies for cold and flu and works great for keeping your immune system strong, to fight off any germs you might come into contact over the next several months.
- Easy Homemade Elderberry Gummies – These Elderberry Gummies are a great way to keep your family healthy during the cold and flu season this year.
- Elderflower Lemonade Recipe – Elderflower lemonade is a refreshing and delicious lemonade recipe to make. Just 3 simple ingredients is all it takes to whip up this elderflower drink.